Last month, I had a Car Scare.
See, Zippy is getting elderly. My beloved baby 3-door Saturn, the car I bought when I was twenty in Amarillo, is starting to fall apart. I took him to Saturn to be looked at, and they told me he needed $1400 worth of repairs.
Well, shit. It’s really not worth putting $1400 into a car that’s as old as Zippy. So I looked into getting a new car. I did research, and test drove a Mini, and decided on a new name for a new car. I want another little bitty car, like a Mini or a Matrix or a Mazda3, in black-on-black. Then I will slap some cobweb decals on it, hang a bat from the rearview, put my “Pirate Girl” bumper sticker on it, and call it Spooky.
But after doing the math, I realized that there isn’t really any way I can afford a new car. Not if I want to have a nice wedding. The amount I’m squirrelling away with Paul right now (we’re starting to each put matching amounts in an ING 4.5% savings account now towards the Wedding) would be equal to the amount I’d spend in car payments. So rather, I could AFFORD a new car. I’d just rather not go into debt from getting married.
I decided to call around instead, to track down a shop who would fix some of the glaring issues. Like the seeping radiator. And the leaking brake cylinders. And the thermostat. And I DID. I found a wonderful place called J & S Smog & Auto Repair, out in NoHo. They were very nice, and fixed everything that Saturn wanted $1400 for – for $524. Zippy was a much healthier car, and sounded years younger when I drove out. But now, the brake cylinder is leaking again. Badly. It isn’t that the shop is deliberately deceptive, I don’t think – they got great user reviews on Citysearch – but we’ll find out for sure when I take the car back on Saturday. It’s mostly just annoying and worrisome.
However, finding a decent mechanic made the difference, and I realized I could keep my car. I was worried about it falling apart, piece by piece, and having to pay Saturn dealership prices on the work. So I decided to keep Zippy after all. My credit rating, after all, is rapidly recovering from the beating it suffered at the hands of Big Scary Mike. And I’d rather have a good rating when I apply for a loan, because that will save literally thousands of dollars in fees and interest. So let’s hope that, when I take the car back to NoHo on Saturday, that they fix the broken cylinder without charging even more for it. Let’s hope that this is a nice shop that will help me achieve that dream of hanging onto one of the last of the three-doored Saturns. They don’t make the Zippy model any more. I’d like to keep him while I can.